Necessity is the mother of invention and the FIGO flexible garden frame connector is one of the latest garden gadgets designed to make our lives easier.
We have spent the week playing with a box of these new flexible connectors and we are certainly impressed, their flexibility means they can be used to make all sorts of structures, from crop frames to obelisks and shaped plant supports.
Bamboo canes have been around for centuries and many gardeners have spent hours tangled in string and wire, trying to put them together to make protective crop frames and plant supports.
Modern crop frames
The gardener can purchase specially designed purpose built garden frames made from tubular metal with special connectors but they can be expensive and can generally only be formed into one shape.
The Build a Ball revolutionised the home made garden frame, but again you are limited to 90 degree angles and only a certain size of bamboo cane.
FIGO is incredibly versatile
The Figo works on a similar principle to the ‘Build a Ball’, allowing gardeners to use bamboo canes to build their own structures. The advantage is that the connectors are mounted on a sturdy flexible rubber ring, which gives any manner of angle combinations and they can accommodate a cane with a width from 8mm to an impressive 16mm, which means that you can even use tubular metal to construct your frame or support.
Most bamboo canes are larger in diameter at one end than the other and this is a huge, frustrating problem with the Build a Balls but the FIGO gets round this effortlessly.
The FIGO is the British brainchild of gardener Sharon Wong, who went to product development company Hyphen with a basic concept for a flexible connector. Hyphen developed and improved the design to create a whole new patentable design that is not only supremely easy to use and very durable, but also inexpensive to produce.
FIGO is not fiddly
The FIGO flexible connectors are large and easy to handle, even those with limited dexterity can easily push a cane into the connector, although if strength and joint pain are a problem, we would recommend sticking to the smaller 8 -10mm cane widths, as these are easier to push in.
Even in cumbersome gardening gloves, we found the FIGO easy to use.
Gardening for health opinion of the FIGO
Very versatile and easy to use, the Figo comes in a sturdy cardboard box which is fully recyclable but we suggest that it is kept to keep your FIGO connectors safe when not in use.
A box of 10 connectors gives you six 3 way and four 4 way connectors which will enable you to make a number of structures from one box and comes with full instructions (not that anybody needs them). The FIGO website contains all sorts of useful information, is well laid out and easy to navigate.
FIGO also limits the risk of being poked in the eye by unprotected bamboo cane ends and gives the perfect protection to the corners of your netting where normal canes may tear through.
Initial cost of the FIGO may seem slightly high at £19.95 + £3.90 postage but postage is free when you order more than one pack and we feel that their flexibility and ease of use is well worth the investment.
Gardening for Health gives this product 10/10.
FIGO was launched at the GLEE show at the NEC in September 2009 and substantial orders have already been placed by distributors around the world.
No doubt they will soon be appearing on a garden centre shelf near you but if you don’t then simply purchase via Amazon.co.uk or the product ads on this page or log on to the FIGO website and purchase your own.
FIGO on YouTube
See the FIGO connectors in action in the short you tube videos showing what sort of structures can be built from these very flexible connectors.
101 uses for FIGO
These connectors are so versatile, they are great fro the kids too, they can build tents, sculptures and even geodesic domes. They are also useful for creating windbreaks, enclosures for pets, in fact– anything at all!
There is a section on the FIGO website where you can upload your grand designs….the only limit is your imagination.